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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 4



Romans 4:1 . Ἀβραὰμ .… εὑρηκέναι ] Lachm. and Tisch. (8) read εὑρηκ . Ἀβρ . τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν , which Griesb. also approved. This position of the words has indeed preponderant attestation (A C D E F G א , min [941] , Copt. Arm. Vulg. It. and several Fathers), but may be suspected of being a transposition intended to connect κατὰ σάρκα with ΤῸΝ ΠΑΤΈΡΑ ἩΜ . , as in fact this construction was prevalent among the ancients. ΠΡΟΠΆΤΟΡΑ (Lachm.) though attested by A B C* א , 5, 10, 21, 137, Syr [942] Copt. Arm. Aeth. and Fathers, appears all the more probably a gloss, since ΠΑΤΈΡΑ here is not used in a spiritual sense as it is afterwards in Romans 4:11-12 ; Romans 4:17-18 .

Romans 4:11 . ΠΕΡΙΤΟΜῆς ] Griesb. recommended ΠΕΡΙΤΟΜΉΝ , which however is only attested by A. C*, min [943] , Syr [944] utr. Arm. and some Fathers; and on account of the adjoining accusatives very easily slipped in, especially in the position after ἜΛΑΒΕ .

ΚΑῚ ΑὐΤΟῖς ] ΚΑῚ is wanting in A B א *, min [945] Ar. pol. Vulg. ms. Orig. in schol. Cyr. Damasc. Condemned by Mill and Griesb., omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. (8). But after the final syllable NAI the καί , not indispensable for the sense, was very easily overlooked. On the other hand the ground assumed for its addition, by Reiche, that “the copyists would not have the Jews altogether excluded,” cannot be admitted as valid, because in fact the Jews are immediately after, Romans 4:12 , expressly included.

The article before ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ , which Tisch. (8) has omitted, has preponderant attestation. Its omission is connected with the old reading (A) ΕἸς ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ (comp Romans 4:9 ; Romans 5:3 ). Romans 4:12 . Τῆς ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΚΡΟΒ . ΠΊΣΤ .] The reading Τῆς ΠΊΣΤ . Τῆς ἘΝ Τ . ἈΚΡΟΒ . , recommended by Griesb. and adopted by Scholz, lacks the authority of most and the best uncials, and seems a mechanical alteration after Romans 4:11 . The article Τῇ however is, with Tisch. in accordance with decisive testimony, to be deleted, and to be regarded as having been likewise introduced from ver 11 (not as omitted after Romans 4:10 , as Fritzsche thinks).

Romans 4:15 . ΟὟ ΓΆΡ ] A B C א *, min [947] , Copt. Syr. p [948] (in margin), Theodoret, Theophyl. Ambr. Ruf. read ΟὟ ΔΈ . Recommended by Griesb. and adopted by Lachm. Fritzsche, Tisch. (8). An alteration, occasioned by the contrast on failing to perceive the appropriateness of meaning in the ΓΆΡ .

Romans 4:17 . ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΕ ] F G and some vss [949] and Fathers read ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΑς (so Luther). The ΚΑΤΈΝΑΝΤΙ ΟὟ Κ . Τ . Λ [950] was still regarded as belonging to the passage of Scripture.

Romans 4:19 . οὐ ] Wanting in A B C א , 67**, 93, 137, Syr [951] Erp. Copt. Chrys. Damasc. Julian. Condemned by Griesb. and deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. (8). But this omission of the οὐ , as well as the very weakly attested ὡς and licet , manifestly arose from incorrectly having regard here to Genesis 17:17 (as is done even by Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 305 f. and Hofmann). See the exegetical remarks.

ἤδη ] Wanting in B F G 47 et. al [952] and several vss [953] and Fathers. Bracketed by Lachm. deleted by Fritzsche and Tisch. It is to be regarded as an addition, which suggested itself very easily, whereas there would have been no reason for its omission.

[941] in. codices minusculi , manuscripts in cursive writing. Where these are individually quoted, they are marked by the usual Arabic numerals, as 33, 89.

[942] yr. Peschito Syriac

[943] in. codices minusculi , manuscripts in cursive writing. Where these are individually quoted, they are marked by the usual Arabic numerals, as 33, 89.

[944] yr. Peschito Syriac

[945] in. codices minusculi , manuscripts in cursive writing. Where these are individually quoted, they are marked by the usual Arabic numerals, as 33, 89.

[947] in. codices minusculi , manuscripts in cursive writing. Where these are individually quoted, they are marked by the usual Arabic numerals, as 33, 89.

[948] yr. p. Philoxenian Syriac.

[949] ss. versions. These, when individually referred to, are marked by the usual abridged forms.

[950] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[951] yr. Peschito Syriac

[952] t. al. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[953] ss. versions. These, when individually referred to, are marked by the usual abridged forms.

Verse 1

Romans 4:1 . Οὖν ] Accordingly , in consequence of the fact that we do not abrogate the law through faith, but on the contrary establish it. [954] This οὖν brings in the proof to be adduced from the history of Abraham (“confirmatio ab exemplo,” Calvin), for the νόμον ἱστῶμεν just asserted (Romans 3:31 ), in the form of an inference . For if we should have to say that Abraham our father has attained anything (namely, righteousness) κατὰ σάρκα , that would presuppose that the law, which attests Abraham’s justification, in nowise receives establishment διὰ τῆς πίστεως (Romans 3:31 ). Hence we have not here an objection, but a question proposed in the way of inference by Paul himself, the answer to which is meant to bring to light, by the example of Abraham, the correctness of his νόμον ἱστ . His object is not to let the matter rest with the short and concise dismissal of the question in Romans 3:31 , but to enter into the subject more closely; and this he does now by attaching what he has further to say to the authoritatively asserted, and in his own view established, νόμον ἱστάνομεν in the form of an inference . Moreover, the whole is to be taken as one question, not to be divided into two by a note of interrogation after ἐροῦμεν ; in which case there is harshly and arbitrarily supplied to εὑρηκέναι (by Grotius, Hammond, Clericus, Wetstein, and Michaelis) δικαιοσύνην , or at least (van Hengel) the pronoun it representing that word, which however ought to have been immediately suggested by the context, as in Philippians 3:12 (comp Nägelsbach on Il. 1, 76, 302, Exodus 3:0 ). In the affirmation itself Ἀβρ . is the subject ( quid dicemus Abrahamum nactum esse ?). Th. Schott, by an unhappy distortion of the passage, makes him the object (“ why should we then say that we have gained Abraham in a fleshly, natural sense for our ancestor ?”) This misconception should have been precluded by attending to the simple fact, that in no passage in our Epistle (and in other Epistles the form of expression does not occur) does the τί in τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν mean why . Hofmann, who had formerly ( Schriftb. II. 2, p. 76 ff.) apprehended it in substance much more correctly, now agrees with Schott in so far that he takes τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν as a question by itself, but then explains Ἀβραάμ likewise as the object, so that the question would be, whether the Christians think that they have found Abraham as their forefather after the flesh ? “The origin of the church of God, to which Christians belong, goes back to Abraham. In fleshly fashion he is their ancestor, if the event through which he became such (namely, the begetting of Isaac ) lie within the sphere of the natural human life; in spiritual fashion , on the other hand, if that event belong to the sphere of the history of salvation and its miraculous character, which according to the Scripture (comp Galatians 4:23 ) is the case.” This exposition cannot be disputed on linguistic grounds, especially if, with Hofmann, we follow Lachmann’s reading. But it is, viewed in reference to the context, erroneous. For the context, as Romans 4:2-3 clearly show, treats not of the contrast between the fleshly and the spiritual fatherhood of Abraham in the case of Christians, but of the justification of the ancestor, as to whether it took place κατὰ σάρκα or by faith. Moreover, if Ἀβρ . was intended to be the object, Paul would have expressed himself as unintelligibly as possible, since in Romans 4:2-3 he in the most definite manner represents him as the subject , whose action is spoken of. If we take Hofmann’s view, in which case we do not at all see why the Apostle should have expressed himself by εὑρηκέναι , he would have written more intelligibly by substituting for this the simple εἶναι , so that Ἀβρ . would have been the subject in the question, as well as in what follows. Finally the proposition that Abraham, as the forefather of believers as such , was so not κατὰ σάρκα , was so perfectly self-evident, both with reference to the Jewish and the Gentile portion of the Ἰσραὴλ Θεοῦ , that Paul would hardly have subjected it to discussion as the theme of so earnest a question, while yet no reader would have known that in κατὰ σάρκα he was to think of the miraculous begetting of Isaac . For even without the latter Abraham would be the προπάτωρ of believers κατὰ πνεῦμα , namely, through his justification by faith , Romans 4:9 ff.

τ . πατέρα ἡμ .] “fundamentum consequentiae ab Abrahamo ad nos,” Bengel. Comp Romans 4:11 f. ἡμῶν however (comp James 2:21 ) is said from the Jewish standpoint, not designating Abraham as the spiritual father of the Christians (Reiche, Hofmann, Th. Schott), a point that is still for the present (see Romans 4:11 ) quite out of view.

κατὰ σάρκα ] is, following the Peschito, with most expositors to be necessarily joined to εὑρηκ .; not, with Origen, Ambrosiaster, Chrysostom, Photius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Castalio, Toletus, Calvin, whom Hofmann, Th. Schott, Reithmayr, Volckmar in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1862, p. 221 ff., follow, to τ . πατέρα ἡμ . (not even although Lachmann’s reading were the original one); for the former, and not the latter, needed the definition. Abraham has really attained righteousness, only not κατὰ σάρκα , and ἐξ ἔργων in Romans 4:2 corresponds to the κατὰ σάρκα . Besides with our reading the latter connection is impossible.

The σάρξ on its ethical side [959] is the material-psychic human nature as the life-sphere of moral weakness and of sinful power in man, partly as contrasted with the higher intellectual and moral nature of the man himself , which is his πνεῦμα along with the ΝΟῦς (Romans 1:9 , Romans 7:18 ; Romans 7:25 , and see on Ephesians 4:23 ), and partly as opposed to the superhuman divine life-sphere and its operation, as here; see the sequel. Hence κατὰ σάρκα is: conformably to the bodily nature of man in accordance with its natural power , in contrast to the working of divine grace, by virtue of which the εὑρηκέναι would not be ΚΑΤᾺ ΣΆΡΚΑ , but ΚΑΤᾺ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ , because taking place through the Spirit of God. Comp on John 3:6 . Since the ἜΡΓΑ are products of the human phenomenal nature and conditioned by its ethical determination, not originating from the divine life-element, they belong indeed to the category of the κατὰ σάρκα , and ἘΞ ἜΡΓΩΝ is the correlative of ΚΑΤᾺ ΣΆΡΚΑ (wherefore also Paul continues, Romans 4:2 , ΕἸ ΓΆΡ ἈΒΡ . ἘΞ ἜΡΓΩΝ Κ . Τ . Λ [961] ), but they do not exhaust the whole idea of it, as has often been assumed, following Theodoret ( κατὰ σάρκα τὴν ἐν ἔργιος , λέγει , ἐπείδηπερ διὰ τοῦ σώματος ἐκπληροῦμεν τὰ ἔργα ), and is still assumed by Reiche. Köllner, limiting it by anticipation from Romans 4:4 , holds that it refers to the human mode of earning wages by labour . Entirely opposed to the context, and also to the historical reference of Romans 4:3 , is the explanation of circumcision (Pelagius, Ambrosiaster, Vatablus, Estius, and others; including Koppe, Flatt, Baur, and Mehring), which Rückert also mixes up, at the same time that he explains it of the ἔργοις . Philippi also refers it to both.

On εὑρηκ ., adeptum esse , comp εὑρεῖν κέρδος , Soph. El. 1297, ἀρχήν , Dem. 69, 1. The middle is still more expressive, and more usual; see Krüger, § 52, 10, 1, Xen. ii. 1, 8, and Kühner in loc [963] The perfect infinitive is used, because Abraham is realised as present; see Romans 4:2 .

[954] Observe, in reference to ch. 4 (with Romans 3:31 ), of what fundamental and profound importance, and how largely subject to controversy, the relation of Christianity to Judaism was in the Apostolic age, particularly in the case of mixed churches. The minute discussion of this relation, therefore, in a doctrinal Epistle so detailed, cannot warrant the assumption that the church was composed mainly of Jews , or at least (Beyschlag) of proselytes .

[959] The most recent literature on this subject: Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde , I. p. 71 ff.; Tholuck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, 3; Hahn, Thol. d. N. Test. I. p. 426 ff.; Delitzsch, Psychol . p. 374 ff.; Holsten, Bedeutung des Wortes σάρξ im N. Test . 1855, and in Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 365 ff.; Baur in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 96 ff.; and Neut. Theol. p. 142 f.; Wieseler on Gal. p. 443 ff.; Beck, Lehrwiss . § 22; Kling in Herzog’s Encykl . IV. p. 419 ff.; Hofmann, Schriftbew . I. p. 557 ff.; Weber, vom Zorne Gottes , p. 80 ff.; also Ritschl, altkath. Kirche , p. 66 ff.; Luthardt, vom freien Willen , p. 394 ff.; Rich. Schmidt, Paulin. Christol. 1870, p. 8 ff.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. § 93; Philippi, Glaubensl . III. p. 207 ff., and the excursus thereon, p. 231 ff., Exodus 2:0 . For the earlier literature see Ernesti, p. 50.

[961] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[963] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Verses 1-24

Romans 3:31 to Romans 4:24 . The harmony of the doctrine of justification by faith with the law, illustrated by what is said in the law regarding the justification of Abraham .

The new chapter should have begun with Romans 3:31 , since that verse contains the theme of the following discussion. If we should, with Augustine, Beza, Calvin, Melancthon, Bengel, and many others, including Flatt, Tholuck, Köllner, Rückert, Philippi, van Hengel, Umbreit, and Mehring, assume that at Romans 4:1 there is again introduced something new, so that Paul does not carry further the νόμον ἱστῶμεν , v. 31, but in Romans 4:1 ff. treats of a new objection that has occurred to him at the moment, we should then have the extraordinary phenomenon of Paul as it were dictatorially dismissing an objection so extremely important and in fact so very naturally suggesting itself, as νόμον οῦν καταργοῦμεν κ . τ . λ [932] , merely by an opposite assertion, and then immediately, like one who has not a clear case, leaping away to something else. The more paradoxical in fact after the foregoing, and especially after the apparently antinomistic concluding idea in Romans 3:30 , the assertion νόμον ἱστῶμεν must have sounded, the more difficult becomes the assumption that it is merely an anticipatory declaration abruptly interposed (see especially Philippi, who thinks that it is enlarged on at Romans 8:1 ff.); and the less can Romans 3:20 , διὰ γ . νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτ . be urged as analogous, since that proposition had really its justification there in what preceded. According to Th. Schott, νόμος is not meant to apply to the Mosaic law at all, but to the fact that, according to Romans 3:27 , faith is a νόμος , in accordance with which therefore Paul, when making faith a condition of righteousness, ascribes to himself not abrogation of the law, but rather an establishment of it, setting up merely what God Himself had appointed as the method of salvation. The discourse would thus certainly have a conclusion, but by a jugglery [933] with a word ( ΝΌΜΟς ) which no reader could, after Romans 3:28 , understand in any other sense than as the Mosaic law. Hofmann explains substantially in the same way as Schott. He thinks that Paul conceives to himself the objection that in the doctrine of faith there might be found a doing away generally of all law , and now in opposition thereto declares that that doctrine does not exclude, but includes, the fact that there is a divine order of human life (?).

[932] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[933] This objection in no way affects the question διὰ ποίου νόμου , ver. 27 (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection) where the very ποίου placed along with it requires the general notion of νόμου .

Verse 2

Romans 4:2 . The question in Romans 4:1 contained the negative sense, which had therefore necessarily to be limited by κατὰ σάρκα : “We may not assert that Abraham has obtained anything according to the flesh.” The reason for this is now assigned ( γάρ ): “ For, assuming that Abraham has been justified by works ” (as was the Jewish opinion [964] ), “ he has cause for boasting ,” namely, that he has attained righteousness through his actions, but he has not this ground of boasting with respect to God (as if his justification were the divine act), since, namely, in the case supposed it is not God to whom he owes the justification, but on the contrary he has himself earned it, and God would simply have to acknowledge it as a human self-acquirement. God has not, in that supposed case, done anything for him, on account of which he might thus boast with regard to God as his justifier; for ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἔργων πληρῶσις αὐτοὺς στεφανοῖ τοῦς ἐργαζομένους , τὴν δὲ τ . Θεοῦ φιλανθρωπίαν οὐ δείκνυσιν , Theodoret. Comp also Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact. Thus for the proper understanding of this difficult passage (Chrysostom: ἀσάφες τὸ εἰρημένον ) we must go back to the explanation of the Greek expositors, which is quite faithful both to the words and the context. Comp on Romans 4:3-4 . This interpretation, now adopted also by Tholuck (comp Reithmayr and Th. Schott), has especially this advantage, that ἐδικαιώθη is not taken otherwise than in the entire development of the δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ , not therefore as somewhat indefinite and general (“justus apparuit,” Grotius), in which case it would remain a question by whom Abraham was found righteous (Rückert, Philippi; comp Beza and others; also Grotius and Koppe, and, with trifling variation, de Wette, likewise Spohn in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 429 ff., Volckmar, and others). That Abraham was justified with God was known to no Jew otherwise (comp Sir 44:19 ff.; Manass. 8; Joseph. Antt. xi. 5, 7; Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth . I. p. 322, 343), and no reader could in accordance with the entire context understand ἐδικαιώθη otherwise, than in this definite sense, consequently in the solemn absolute sense of the Apostle (in opposition to Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl . p. 35). The only question was, whether ἐξ ἔργων or ἐκ πίστεως . If we suppose the former case, it is indeed for Abraham worthy of all honour, and he may boast of that which he has himself achieved, but with reference to God , as if He had justified him, he has no ground for boasting. [970] Observe besides, that πρὸς is used not in the sense of ἘΝΏΠΙΟΝ , coram (Hofmann: overagainst ), or apud (Vulgate), but in accordance with the quite common usage of ἔχειν with the object of the thing (to have something to do, to say, to boast, to ask, to censure, etc.), and with specification of the relation of reference to some one through πρὸς τινα . The opposite of ἜΧΕΙΝ ΚΑΎΧΗΜΑ ΠΡΌς is ἜΧΕΙΝ ΜΟΜΦῊΝ ΠΡΌς , Colossians 3:13 . The special mode of the reference is invariably furnished by the context, which here, in accordance with the idea of δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ , suggests the notion that God is the bestower of the blessing meant by καύχημα . To that the ἔχειν καύχημα of Abraham does not refer, if he was justified by works . In the latter case he cannot boast of himself: ὁ Θεὸς με ἐδίκαιωσε , Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον . Reiche and Fritzsche, following Calvin, Calovius, and many others, have discovered here an incomplete syllogism , in which ἀλλʼ οὐ πρὸς τ . Θεόν is the minor premiss, and the conclusion is wanting, to this effect: “Si suis bene factis Dei favorem nactus est, habet quod apud Deum glorietur.…; sed non habet, quod apud Deum glorietur, quum libri s. propter fidem , non propter pulchre facta eum Deo probatum esse doceant (Romans 4:3 ).…; non est igitur Abr. ob bene facta Deo probatus,” Fritzsche. So in substance also Kraussold in the Stud. u. Krit. 1842, p. 783; Baur in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 71; Köstlin in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1856, p. 92. Forced, and even contrary to the verbal sense; for through the very contrast ἀλλʼ οὐ π . τ . Θ . the simple ΚΑΎΧΗΜΑ is distinguished from the καύχημα πρὸς τ . Θεόν , as one that takes place not πρὸς τὸν Θεόν . Paul must have written: ἜΧΕΙ ΚΑΎΧΗΜΑ ΠΡῸς ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ · ἈΛΛʼ (or ἈΛΛᾺ ΜῊΝ ) ΟὐΚ ἜΧΕΙ . Mehring takes ἈΛΛʼ Οὐ ΠΡῸς ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ as a question : “If Abraham has become righteous by works, he has glory, but has he it not before God? ” But in what follows it is the very opposite of the affirmation, which this question would imply, that is proved. If the words were interrogative, ἀλλὰ μή must have been used instead of ἈΛΛʼ Οὐ ( but yet not before God? ) Hofmann, in consequence of his erroneous exposition of Romans 4:1 , supposes that Paul wishes to explain how he came to propose the question in Romans 4:1 , and to regard an answer to it as necessary. What is here involved, namely, is nothing less than a contradiction between what Christians say of themselves (when they deny all possibility of becoming righteous by their own actions), and what holds good of “an Abraham,” the father of the people of God . If the latter has become righteous through his own action, he has glory, and by this very circumstance his ancestorship is distinguished from that of all others. But then the Scripture teaches that what God counted worthy in Abraham was his faith, and it is therefore clear that the glory which he has, if he has become righteous by works, is no glory in presence of God, and consequently is not fitted to be the basis of his position in sacred history . This is a chain of ideas imported into the passage; instead of which it was the object of the Apostle himself merely to set forth the simple proposition that Abraham was not justified by works, and not at all to speak of the mode in which the Christian ancestorship of the patriarch came to subsist.

καύχημα (comp on Philippians 1:26 ; Philippians 2:16 ) is throughout the N. T. materies gloriandi; as also in the LXX. and Apocrypha; although in classic authors (Pind. Isthm. v. 65; Plut. Ages. 31) it also occurs as the equivalent of καύχησις , gloriatio . In Galatians 6:4 , also, it is joined with ἔχειν .

[964] In the Talmud it is even inferred from Genesis 26:5 that Abraham kept the whole law of Moses. Kiddusch f. 82, 1; Joma f. 28, 2; Beresch. rabba f. 57, 4. Comp. the passages from Philo quoted by Schneckenburger in the Stud. u. Krit. 1833, p. 135.

[970] Van Hengel places a point after καύχ ., and takes ἀλλʼ οὐ πρὸς τ . Θεόν as an independent sentence, in which he supplies secundum literas sacras , making the sense: “Atqui gloriandi materiam Deum Abrahamo denegare videmus in libris sacris.” But that is, in fact, not there. Against my own interpretation in the 1st ed. (making εἰ .… ἐδικαιώθη the question , and then ( ἔχει .… Θεόν the answer negativing it) see Philippi. The εἰ must be the dialectic if .

Verse 3

Romans 4:3 . I am right in saying: οὐ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν , for Scripture expressly derives the justification of Abraham from his faith , not from his works , and indeed as something received through imputation; so that he consequently possesses, not the previously supposed righteousness of works, but the righteousness of faith as a favour of God, and has ground for boasting of his righteousness in reference to God . That righteousness by works he would have earned himself . Comp Romans 4:4 . The emphasis lies on ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΕ and ἘΛΟΓΊΣΘΗ , not on Τῷ ΘΕῷ (Mehring). See Romans 4:4 f. The passage quoted is Genesis 15:6 , according to the LXX., which renders the active וְיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ by the passive Κ . ἘΛΟΓΊΣΘΗ . In the Hebrew what is spoken of is the faith which Abraham placed in the divine promise of a numerous posterity, and which God put to his account as righteousness, צְדָקָה , i.e. as full compliance with the divine will in act and life; comp on Galatians 3:6 . Paul however has not made an unwarrantable use of the passage for his purpose (Rückert), but has really understood δικαιοσύνη in the dogmatic sense, which he was justified in doing since the imputation of faith as צְדָקָה was essentially the same judicial act which takes place at the justification of Christians. This divine act began with Abraham, the father of the faithful, and was not essentially different in the case of later believers. Even in the πιστεύειν τῷ Θεῷ on the part of Abraham Paul has rightly discerned nothing substantially different from the Christian ΠΊΣΤΙς (compare Delitzsch on Gen. l.c [974] ), since Abraham’s faith had reference to the divine promise , and indeed to the promise which he, the man trusted by God and enlightened by God, recognised as that which embraced in it the future Messiah (John 8:56 ). Tholuck, because the promise was a promise of grace, comes merely to the unsatisfactory view of “a virtual parallel also with the object of the justifying faith of Christians.” Still less (in opposition to Neander and others) can the explanation of the subjective nature of faith in general, without the addition of its specific object (Christ), suffice for the conception of Abraham as the father of all believing in Christ ; since in that case there would only have been present in him a pre-formation of faith as respects its psychological quality generally, and not also in respect of its subject-matter , which is nevertheless the specific and distinguishing point in the case of justifying faith.

We may add that our passage, since it expresses not a (mediate) issuing of righteousness from faith, but the imputation of the latter, serves as a proof of justification being an actus forensis; and what the Catholic expositors (including even Reithmayr and Maier) advance to the contrary is a pure subjective addition to the text. [975] It is well said by Erasmus: that is imputed , “quod re persolutum non est, sed tamen ex imputantis benignitate pro soluto habetur .” Comp also Philippi in loc [977] , and Hoelemann, de justitiae ex fide ambabus in V. T. sedibus , 1867, p. 8 ff.

Instead of the καί in the LXX., Paul, in order to put the ἐπίστ . with all weight in the foreground, has used δέ , which does not otherwise belong to the connection of our passage.

εἰς δίκ .] Comp Romans 2:26 .

On the passive ἐλογίσθη see Bernhardy, p. 341; Kühner, II. 1, p. 105.

[974] .c. loco citato or laudato .

[975] Not even with the exception of Döllinger ( Christenth. u. K. p. 188, Exodus 2:0 ), who says that God accounts the principle of the new free obedience (the faith) as already the whole service to be rendered , as the finished righteousness. Comp. however on Romans 1:17 , note.

[977] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Verses 4-5

Romans 4:4-5 . These verses now supply an illustration of Romans 4:3 in two general contrasted relations, from the application of which left to the reader to the case of Abraham the non-co-operation of works (the χωρὶς ἔργων , Romans 4:6 ) in the case of the latter’s justification could not but be clear.

δέ ] is the simple μεταβατικόν .

τῷ ἐργαζομένῳ ] to the worker , here, as the contrast shows, with the pregnant sense: to him who is active in works , of whom the ἔργα are characteristic . Luther aptly says: “who deals in works.”

μισθός ] i.e. the corresponding wages (comp Romans 2:29 ), justa merces . The opposite: ἡ δίκη , merita poena; see Kühner, a [980] Xen. Anab. i. 3, 20.

οὐ λογίζ . κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα ] Comp Thuc. ii. 40, 4 : οὐκ ἐς χάριν ἀλλʼ ἐς ὀφείλημα τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀποδώσων . The stress of the contrast lies on κ . χάρ . and κ . ὀφείλ ., not in the first part on λογίζεται (Hofmann), which is merely the verb of the Scripture quotation in Romans 4:3 , repeated for the purpose of annexing to it the contrast that serves for its illustration. Not grace but debt is the regulative standard, according to which his wages are awarded to such an one; the latter are not merces gratiae , but merces debiti . As in Abraham’s case an imputation κατὰ χάριν took place (which Paul assumes as self-evident from Romans 4:3 ) he could not be on ἐργαζόμενος ; the case of imputation which occurred in relation to him is, on the contrary, to be referred to the opposite category which follows: but to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him who justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness . Looking to the exact parallel of Romans 4:4-5 , the unity of the category of both propositions must be maintained; and Romans 4:5 is not to be regarded as an application of Romans 4:4 to the case of Abraham (Reiche), but as likewise a locus communis , under which it is left to the reader to classify the case of Abraham in accordance with the above testimony of Scripture. Hence we cannot say with Reiche: “the μὴ ἐργαζόμενος and ἀσεβής is Abraham.” [982] On the contrary both are to be kept perfectly general, and ἀσεβής is not even to be weakened as equivalent to ἌΔΙΚΟς , but has been purposely selected (comp Romans 5:6 ), in order to set forth the saving power of faith [984] by as strong a contrast as possible to δικαιοῦντα .

On ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙΝ ἘΠῚ ΤΙΝΑ , expressing faith in its direction towards some one , comp Romans 4:24 ; Acts 9:42 ; Acts 11:17 ; Wis 12:2 .

[980] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[982] ἀσεβής in his view is an allusion to the earlier idolatry of Abraham, reported by Philo, Josephus, and Maimonides, on the ground of Joshua 24:2 . This was also the view of Grotius, Wetstein, Cramer, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, and Koppe; comp. also Döllinger, Christenth. u. K. p. 197, Exodus 2:0 . The Rabbins have a different tradition, to the effect that Abraham demolished the idols of his father Terah, etc.; see Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth . I. p. 490 ff., 941.

[984] Consequently subjective faith is meant, not its objective ground , the righteousness of Christ, i.e. according to the Form. Conc. p. 884 f., the active and passive obedience of Christ, which is “applied and appropriated” to us through faith. The merit of Christ always remains the causa meritoria , to which we are indebted for the imputation of our faith. But the apprehensio Christi , which is the essence of justifying faith, must not be made equivalent to the apprehensus Christus (Calovius; comp. Philippi). The former is the subjective, which is imputed; the latter the objective, on account of which the imputation by God takes place. The Formula Concordiae in this point goes ultra quod scriptum est.

Verses 6-8

Romans 4:6-8 . Accordance ( καθάπερ ) of Romans 4:5 with an assertion of David , that great and revered Messianic authority. That it is only what is said in Romans 4:5 that is to be vouched by David’s testimony, and consequently that the quotation forms only an accessory element in the argument, appears from its being annexed by καθάπερ , from the clear intended relation in which ᾧ ὁ Θεὸς λογ . δικ . appears to λογ . ἡ . πίστ . αὑτ . εἰς δικ . Romans 4:5 , as well as χωρὶς ἔργων to τῷ μὴ ἐργαζ . in the same verse, and from the fact that Paul immediately, in Romans 4:9 , returns to Abraham. Romans 4:6-8 cannot therefore be regarded as a second example of justification from the O. T. (Reiche and many others), or even as the starting-point of the reply to the question of Romans 4:1 (Hofmann). This is forbidden by the proper conception of νόμος in Romans 3:31 , in accordance with which Paul could only employ an example from the law: and such an example was that of Abraham , Genesis 15:0 , but not that of David .

λέγει τ . μακαρ .] asserts the congratulation ; μακαρισμός does not mean blessedness , not even in Galatians 4:15 , see in loc [986] Comp Plat. Rep. p. 591 D; Aristot. Rhet. i. 9, 4.

λογίζεται δικαιοσύνην ] Here ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ is conceived directly as that, which God reckons to man as his moral status. The expression ΛΟΓΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΊ ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑΝ is perfectly analogous. In the classics ΛΟΓΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΊ ΤΙ is also frequently met with.

ΧΩΡῚς ἜΡΓΩΝ ] belongs to ΛΟΓΊΖΕΤΑΙ . For, as David represents the ΛΟΓΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ as the forgiveness of sins , it must be conceived by him as ensuing without any participation (Romans 3:21 ) of meritorious works .

μακάριοι Κ . Τ . Λ [988] ] Psalms 32:1-2 exactly after the LXX.

ἐπεκαλύφθ .] The amnesty under the figure of the covering over of sin. Comp Augustine on Ps. l.c [990] , “Si texit Deus peccata, noluit animadvertere; si noluit animadvertere, noluit punire.” Comp 1 Peter 4:8 .

οὐ μὴ λογίσηται ] will certainly not impute . It refers to the future generally, without more precise definition (Hermann, a [992] Soph. Oed. C. 853; Hartung, Partikel . II. p. 156 f.), not specially to the final judgment (de Wette).

[986] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[988] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[990] .c. loco citato or laudato .

[992] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Verses 9-10

Romans 4:9-10 . From the connection ( καθάπερ , Romans 4:6 ) of this Davidic μακαρισμός with what had previously been adduced, Romans 4:3-5 , regarding Abraham, it is now inferred ( οὖν ) that this declaration of blessedness affects, not the circumcised as such, but also the uncircumcised; for Abraham in fact, as an uncircumcised person, was included among those pronounced blessed by David.

ἐπὶ τ . περιτ .] The verb obviously to be supplied is most simply conceived as ἐστι (the μακαρισμός extends to etc.; comp Romans 2:9 ; Acts 4:33 et al [994] ). Less natural is λέγεται from Romans 4:6 (Fritzsche); and πίπτει (Theophylact, Bos) is arbitrary, as is also ἦλθεν (Oecumenius), and ἔρχεται (Olshausen). Comp Romans 4:13 , and see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 120 f.

ἐπὶτ . περιτ . κ . τ . λ [996] ] to the circumcised, or also to the uncircumcised? The καί shows that the previous ἘΠῚ Τ . ΠΕΡΙΤ . is conceived as exclusive , consequently without a μόνον .

λέγομεν γάρ Κ . Τ . Λ [997] ] In saying this Paul cannot wish first to explain, quite superfluously, how he comes to put such questions (Hofmann), but, as is indicated by λέγομεν , which lays down a proposition as premiss to the argument that follows, he enters on the proof ( γάρ ) from the history of Abraham for the καὶ επὶ τ . ἀκροβ . which is conceived as affirmed. The present denotes the assertion pointing back to Romans 4:3 as continuing: for our assertion, our proposition is , etc. The plural assumes the assent of the readers. The emphasis however is not on τῷ Ἀβρ . (Fritzsche, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Maier, Philippi, and others), which Paul would have made apparent by the position of the words ὅτι τῷ Ἀβρ . ἐλογίσθη ; nor on ἐλογίσθη , which in that case would necessarily have a pregnant meaning not indicated in the whole connection (as a pure act of grace, independent of external conditions); but on ἡ πίστις εἰς δικαιοσύνην (and thus primarily on πίστις ) brought together at the end, by which the import of Romans 4:3 , ἐπίστευσε .… δικαιοσύνην , is recapitulated.

πῶς οὖν ἐλογίσθη ] The proposition, that to Abraham, etc., is certain; consequently the point at issue is the question quomodo , viz. under what circumstances as to status (whether in his circumcision, or whilst he was still uncircumcised) that imputation of his faith to him for righteousness took place. [998] Hofmann places the first mark of interrogation after πῶς οὖν , so that the second question is supposed to begin with ἐλογίσθη . But without sufficient ground, and contrary to the usage elsewhere of the interrogative πῶς by Paul, who has often put τί οὖν thus without a verb, but never πῶς οὖν . We should in such case have to understand ἐλογίσθη ; but this word, according to the usual punctuation, is already present , and does not therefore need to be supplied.

οὐκ ἐν περιτομῇ , ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀκροβ .] scil. ὄντι . The imputation in question took place as early as Genesis 15:0 ; circumcision not till Genesis 17:0 ; the former at least fourteen years earlier.

[994] t al. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[996] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[997] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[998] Respecting the form of the discourse, Erasmus aptly observes: “Praeter interrogationis gratiam multum lucis addit dilemma , cujus altera parte rejecta alteram evincit. Nullum enim argumentandi genus vel apertius vel violentius.”

Verse 11

Romans 4:11 . An amplification of the οὐκ ἐν περιτ ., ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀκροβ . viewed as to its historical bearings, showing namely the relation of Abraham’s circumcision to his δικαιοσύνη , and therefore only to be separated by a comma from Romans 4:10 . “ And he received a sign of circumcision as seal (external confirmation, 1 Corinthians 9:2 , and see on John 3:33 ) of the righteousness of faith (obtained through faith, Romans 4:3 ; Romans 4:5 ), which he had in uncircumcision .” That τῆς ἐν τ . ἀκροβ . is not to be connected with δικαιοσ . (Rückert, Reiche) is plain from the following context ( πιστευόντων διʼ ἀκροβυστίας Romans 4:11 , and τῆς ἐν τῆ ἀκροβ . πίστεως Romans 4:12 ). The genitive περιτομῆς is usually taken as that of apposition: the sign consisting in circumcision . But in that case the article could not be omitted before σημεῖον (the absence of it drove van Hengel to the reading περιτομήν , which Hofmann also prefers) [999] , since the concrete, historically definite sign would here be meant (compare 2 Corinthians 5:5 ; Ephesians 2:14 et al [1000] ). It is therefore to be rendered: And a sign, which took place through circumcision , a signature which was given to him in the fact that he was circumcised, he received as seal, etc. The genitive is thus to be taken simply as completing the notion of σημεῖον , i.e. as defining it more precisely as respects its modal expression. Observe at the same time the dislocation in the order of the words, which brings into emphatic relief the idea of the σημεῖον . According to Genesis 11:17 circumcision was the sign of the covenant [1001] which God made with Abraham. But with correct dogmatic consistency Paul represents it as the significant mark which had been the seal of the righteousness by faith , since in that covenant what God promised was the Messianic ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ (Genesis 15:5 ; Genesis 15:18 ), and Abraham on his part rendered the faith (Genesis 15:6 ) which God imputed to him for righteousness.

ΕἸς ΤῸ ΕἾΝΑΙ ΑὐΤῸΝ Κ . Τ . Λ [1002] ] in order that he might be , etc., contains the divinely appointed aim of the σημεῖον ἔλαβε περιτ . κ . τ . λ [1003] This telic rendering is grammatically necessary (see on Romans 1:20 ), as more in keeping with the biblical view ( ὁ γὰρ τῶν ὅλων θεὸς προειδὼς ὡς θεὸς , ὡς ἕνα λαὸν ἐξ ἐθνῶν καὶ ʼΙουδαίων ἀθροίσει καὶ διὰ πίστεως αὐτοῖς τὴν σωτηρίαν παρέξει , ἐν τῷ πατριάρχἈβρ . ἀμφότερα προδιέγραψε , Theodoret), and with the importance of the matter, than the ecbatic explanation καὶ οὕτως ἐγένετο πατήρ , which has been justly abandoned of late.

ΠΑΤΈΡΑ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ΤῶΝ ΠΊΣΤ . ΔΙʼ ἈΚΡΟΒ .] The essence of this spiritual fatherhood is the identity of the relation forming the basis of the sacred-historical connection of all believers with the patriarch without intervention of circumcision a relation which began with Abraham justified through faith whilst still uncircumcised. Thus the Jewish conception of the national-theocratic childship of Abraham is elevated and enlarged by Paul (comp Matthew 3:9 ; John 8:37 ; John 8:39 ), into the idea of the purely spiritual-theocratic childship, which embraces, not Jews and proselytes as such, but the believers as such all uncircumcised who believe, and (Romans 4:12 ) the believing circumcised. For Abraham’s righteousness through faith was attained, when as yet there was no distinction between circumcised and uncircumcised; and to this mode of becoming just before God, independent of external conditions, Christianity by its ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ ἘΚ ΠΊΣΤΕΩς leads back again, and continues it.

ΔΙʼ ἈΚΡΟΒ . ] with foreskin , although they are uncircumcised. Comp on Romans 2:27 , Barnab. Ep. 13: τέθεικα σε πατέρα ἐθνῶν τῶν πιστευόντων διʼ ἀκροβυστίας τῷ κυρίῳ .

εἰς τὸ λογισθῆναι Κ . Τ . [1006] ] is taken by many, including Tholuck and Philippi, as a parenthetical illustration of εἰς τὸ εἷναι αὐτὸν πατέρα κ . τ . λ [1007] But as we can attach ΕἸς ΤῸ ΛΟΓΙΣΘῆΝΑΙ Κ . Τ . Λ [1008] without violence or obscurity to πιστευόντων , there is no necessity for the assumption of a parenthesis (which is rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, van Hengel, Ewald, Mehring, and Hofmann). Nevertheless εἰς τὸ λογισθ . is not: who believe on the fact, that to them also will be imputed (Hofmann), for the object of faith is never expressed by εἰς with a substantival infinitive; [1009] but, quite in accordance with the telic sense of this form of expression (as in the εἰς τὸ εἶναι previously): who believe (on Christ) in order that (according to the divine final purpose ruling therein) to them also , etc.

καὶ αὐτοῖς ] to them also , as to Abraham himself; τὴν δικαιοσύνην expresses the righteousness which is under discussion, that of faith.

[999] Hofmann explains: and as a sign he received circumcision, as seal (apposition to σημ .). In that case περιτομήν must have had the article (John 7:22 ; otherwise in ver. 23). For to take λαμβάνειν περιτομήν as equivalent to περιτέμνεσθαι is forbidden by σημεῖον , with which the περιτομή can be correlative only as a substantive conception.

[1000] t al. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1001] In the Talmud also it is presented as the sign and seal of the covenant . See Schoettgen and Wetstein. To the formulary of circumcision belonged the words: “Benedictus sit, qui sanctificat dilectum ab utero, et signum ( אות ) posuit in arne, et filios suos sigillavit ( חתם ) signo foederis sancti.” Berachoth f. 13, 1.

[1002] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1003] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1006] . τ . λ καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1007] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1008] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1009] Not even in ver. 18. And Acts 15:11 , to which Hofmann appeals as an analogous passage, tells directly against him, because there the construction of the infinitive obtains in the usual way, that the subject of the governing verb is understood, as a matter of course, with the infinitive. Comp. Hofmann himself above on ver. 1; Krüger, § 55, 4, 1. Besides the result, according to Hofmann’s interpretation, would be an awkward thought, not in keeping with the faith of Abraham.

Verse 12

Romans 4:12 . The construction carries onward the foregoing πατέρα πάντων κ . τ . λ [1010] : and father of circumcision, i.e. father of circumcised persons (not of all circumcised, hence without the article). And in order to express to what circumcised persons this spiritual fatherhood of Abraham belongs, Paul adds, by way of more precise definition: for those ( dativus commodi , comp Revelation 21:7 ; Luke 7:12 ) who are not merely circumcised (comp Romans 2:8 ), but also walk in the footsteps , etc. With this rendering (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Estius and others; including Ammon, Böhme, Tholuck, Klee, Rückert, Benecke, Reiche, Glöckler, Köllner, de Wette, Philippi, and Winer) it must be admitted (against Reiche and Köllner, whose observations do not justify the article) that τοῖς is erroneously repeated before στοιχοῦσι . Paul unsuitably continues with ἀλλὰ καί , just as if he had previously written an Οὐ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΤΟῖς . As any other rendering is wholly inadmissible, and as ΚΑῚ ΤΟῖς cannot be an inversion for ΤΟῖς ΚΑΊ (Mehring), we are driven to the assumption of that erroneous insertion of the article, as a negligence of expression. The expression in Philippians 1:29 (in opposition to Fritzsche) would be of the same nature only in the event of Paul having written ΤΟῖς .… Οὐ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΤΟῖς ἘΚ ΠΕΡΙΤΟΜῆς , ἈΛΛᾺ ΚΑῚ .… ΤΟῖς ΣΤΟΙΧΟῦΣΙ Κ . Τ . Λ [1013] Others take τοῖς οὐκ for οὐ τοῖς (as 37, 80, Syr [1014] Arr. Vulg. Slav. and several Fathers read as an emendation), thus making a distinction to be drawn here not between merely circumcised and unbelieving Jews , but between Jews and Gentiles ( ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς κ . τ . λ [1015] ). So Theodoret, Luther, Castalio, Koppe, Storr, Flatt, Schrader (Grotius is doubtful). But such an inversion is as unnatural (comp Romans 4:16 ) as it is unprecedented (it is an error to refer to Romans 2:27 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:8 ); and how strange it would be, if Paul should have once more brought forward the fatherhood as to the believing Gentiles, but should have left that relating to the Jews altogether without conditioning definition! Hofmann (comp also his Schriftbew . II. 2, p. 82) understands περιτομῆς , after the analogy of ΘΕῸς Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς Κ . Τ . Λ [1018] , as the genitive of quality (“a father, whose fatherhood is to be designated according to circumcisedness; ” as a circumcised person he has begotten Isaac, etc.); then assumes in the case of τοῖς οὐκ ἐκ περιτομῆς μόνον the suppressed antithesis to complete it, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ πίστεως ; and finally explains ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς στοιχ . as a supplementary addition, while he takes ἀλλὰ καὶ to mean not but also , but also however. A hopeless misinterpretation! For, as genitive of quality , περιτομῆς must have had the article (comp Acts 7:2 ; 2 Corinthians 1:3 ; Ephesians 1:17 al [1020] ), and every reader must have understood περιτομῆς in conformity with πάντων κ . τ . λ [1021] , Romans 4:11 , as a specification whose father Abraham further is. The reader could all the less mentally supply after τοῖς οὐκ ἐκ περιτ . a suppressed contrast, since the expressed contrast follows immediately with ἀλλὰ καί ; and for that reason , again, it could occur to no one to understand this ἀλλὰ καί in any other sense than elsewhere after negations, namely, but also , not also however. (How inappropriate is Hofmann’s citation of Luke 24:22 , where no negation at all precedes!) Wieseler’s attempt (in Herzog’s Encyklop . XX. p. 592) is also untenable, since he imports into τοῖς οὐκ ἐκ περιτ . μόνον the sense: “ who do not make circumcision the exclusive condition of salvation ,” and likewise renders ἀλλὰ καί also however; thus making Paul indicate (1) the Jewish Christians who were not rigid partisans of the law (such as were to be found in Palestine especially), and (2) the Pauline Jewish Christians.

τοῖς ἴχνεσι Κ . Τ . Λ [1022] ] who so walk (see on Galatians 5:25 ) that they follow the footsteps which Abraham has left behind through his faith manifested in his uncircumcised condition, i.e. who are believers after the type of the uncircumcised Abraham. The dative , commonly taken as local , is more correctly, in keeping with the other passages in which Paul uses the dative with στοιχεῖν (Galatians 5:16 ; Galatians 5:25 ; Galatians 6:16 ; Philippians 3:16 ), interpreted in the sense of the norm .

[1010] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1013] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1014] yr. Peschito Syriac

[1015] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1018] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1020] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1021] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1022] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

Verse 13

Romans 4:13 . Ground assigned for the foregoing, from εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν πατέρα onwards. “The father of all believing Gentiles and Jews;” for it was not the law, but the righteousness of faith, that procured for Abraham or his seed the promise of possessing the world . Had the law been the agent in procuring that promise, then the Jews , as possessors of the law, would be the children of Abraham who should receive what was promised; as it is, however, it must be the believers , no matter whether Jews or Gentiles, since not the law has been at work, but on the contrary the righteousness of faith .

διὰ νόμου ] through the agency of the law , is not to be arbitrarily limited (Piscator, Calovius, and others: per justitiam legis; Pareus and others: per opera legis ); for, as the Mosaic law [1023] was not yet even in existence, it could in no way procure the promise. Hence it is not to be rendered with Grotius: “ sub conditione observandi legem Mosis,” because διὰ δικαιοσ . πίστ . does not admit of a corresponding interpretation.

ἘΠΑΓΓΕΛΊΑ ] scil. ἘΣΤΙ . The supplying of this (usually: ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ ) is quite sufficient; comp on Romans 4:9 . The relation is realised as present.

Τῷ ΣΠΈΡΜ . ΑὐΤΟῦ ] neither to Abraham nor to his seed, etc. With ἢ τῷ σπέρμ . αὐτ . Paul takes for granted that the history of the promise in question is known; and who are meant by the σπέρμα under the Messianic reference of the promise cannot, according to the context (see especially Romans 4:11 ), be doubtful, namely the believers , who are the spiritual posterity of Abraham (Romans 9:6 ff.; Galatians 4:22 ff.); not Christ according to Galatians 3:16 (Estius, Cornelius à Lapide, Olshausen); but also not the descendants of Abraham proper (van Hengel).

τὸ κληρ . αὐτ . εἶναι κόσμου ] Epexegesis ἘΠΑΓΓΕΛΊΑ . See Kühner, II. 1, p. 518, and a [1025] Xen. Anab. ii. 5, 22. The ΑὐΤΌΝ , referring to Abraham, is so put not because Τ . ΣΠ . ΑὐΤΟῦ is only incidentally introduced (Rückert), but because Abraham is regarded as at once the father and representative of his ΣΠΈΡΜΑ included with him in the promise.

ΚΌΣΜΟΥ ] The inheritance of the land of Canaan, which God promised to Abraham for himself and his posterity (Genesis 12:7 ; Genesis 13:14-15 ; Genesis 15:18 ; Genesis 17:8 ; Genesis 22:17 ; comp Genesis 26:3 ; Exodus 6:4 ), was in the Jewish Christology taken to mean the universal dominion of the Messianic theocracy , which was typically pointed at in these passages from Genesis. “Abrahamo patri meo Deus possidendum dedit coelum et terram ,” Tanchuma, p. 165, 1, and see Wetstein. The idea of Messianic sovereignty over the world , however, which lies at the bottom of this Jewish particularistic conception, and which the prophets invested with a halo of glory, [1027] is in the N. T. not done away, but divested of its Judaistic conception, and raised into a Christological truth, already presented by Christ Himself (comp Matthew 5:5 ) though in allegoric form (Matthew 19:28 ff.; Luke 22:30 ; Matthew 25:21 ). Its necessity lies in the universal dominion to which Christ Himself is exalted (Matthew 28:18 ; John 17:5 ; Philippians 2:9 ff.; Ephesians 4:10 al [1029] ), and in the glorious fellowship of His believers with Him. Now as the idea of this government of the world, which Christ exercises, and in which His believers (the spiritual children of Abraham) are one day to participate, was undeniably also the ideal of Paul (Romans 8:17 ; 1 Corinthians 6:2 ; comp 2 Timothy 2:12 ), it is arbitrary to take ΚΌΣΜΟΥ here otherwise than generally , and either to limit it to the sphere of earth (Koppe, Köllner, Maier), or to explain it as relating to the dominion of the Jews over the Gentile world (van Hengel), or the reception of all peoples into the Messianic kingdom (Beza, Estius and others) or Messianic bliss generally (Wetstein, Flatt, comp Benecke and Glöckler), or the spiritual dominion of the world (Baumgarten-Crusius), as even Hengstenberg does: “the world is spiritually conquered by Abraham and his seed” ( Christol. I. p. 49). The interpretation which takes it to mean the extension of the spiritual fatherhood over all nations (Mehring) would only be possible in the absence of ἢ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ , and would likewise be set aside by the firmly established historical notion of the נחלה . The ΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΝ ΕἾΝΑΙ ΤΟῦ ΚΌΣΜΟΥ of believers is realised in the new glorious world ( ἘΝ Τῇ ΠΑΛΙΓΓΕΝΕΣΊᾼ , Matthew 19:28 , comp Romans 8:18 , 2 Peter 3:13 ) after the Parousia; hence the Messianic kingdom itself and all its ΔΌΞΑ , as the completed possession of salvation promised to believers, is designated by the theocratic technical term ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ (see on Galatians 3:18 ).

ΔΙᾺ ΔΙΚ . ΠΊΣΤ .] Since the ΝΌΜΟς was not the procurer of the promise, but Abraham was righteous through faith (Romans 4:3 ), the ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ ΠΊΣΤΕΩς must necessarily have been that which procured the promise (moved God to grant it). See Romans 4:14 . It is true that the promise in question was given to Abraham prior to his justification by faith (Genesis 12:7 ; Genesis 13:14 f.); but it was renewed to him subsequently (Genesis 15:18 , Genesis 17:8 ); hence we must assume that here Paul had only these latter passages in view.

[1023] For to this διὰ νόμου must be referred (see ver. 14 ff.) not to circumcision , which is brought under the wider conception of the law (Mehring).

[1025] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1027] Comp. Schultz, alttest. Theol. I. p. 225 ff.

[1029] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

Verse 14

Romans 4:14 . Here also νόμος is not (as Flatt and others take it) the moral law (to which however the saying may certainly be applied ), but the law of Moses , viewed in excluding antithesis to the πίστις . By οἱ ἐκ νόμου , “those of the law” (Luther), are meant those who belong to the law, are as such subjected to it; consequently the Jews at all events, but just so far as they are not believers , not belonging to the Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ Θεοῦ (Galatians 6:16 ). The opposite: οἱ ἐκ πίστεως , Romans 3:26 , Galatians 3:7 . That they wish to attain to the κληρονομία by the way of the law, is true in itself, but is not expressed in the mere οἱ ἐκ νόμου (in opposition to Hofmann).

κεκένωταιπίστις κ . τ . λ [1034] ] then faith is made void and the promise done away, i.e. faith is thereby rendered inoperative and the promise of no effect. If it be true that to be subject to the law is the condition of obtaining the possession of the world, nothing further can be said either of a saving power of faith (comp 1 Corinthians 1:17 ), or of the validity of the promise (comp Romans 3:31 , Galatians 3:17 ). And why not? Because (Romans 4:15 ) the law, to which in accordance with that protasis the ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ would be appended, has an operation so entirely opposed to the essence of faith (which trusts in the divine ΧΆΡΙς ) and of the promise (which is an emanation from this ΧΆΡΙς ), (comp Romans 4:16 ), that it brings about the divine wrath , since its result is transgression. On this ground ( διὰ τοῦτο , Romans 4:16 ) because the law worketh wrath , its relation to the κληρονομία , laid down in Romans 4:14 , cannot exist; but on the contrary the latter must proceed from faith that it may be according to grace , etc., Romans 4:16 .

The πίστις is the Christian saving faith, of which Abraham’s faith was the beginning and type, and the ἘΠΑΓΓΕΛΊΑ is the Divine promise of the ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ , given to Abraham and his seed, Romans 4:13 .

[1034] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

Verses 14-17

Romans 4:14-17 . Proof of the antithesis οὐ διὰ νόμου .… ἀλλὰ κ . τ . λ [1033] in Romans 4:13 , conducted not historically (as in Galatians 3:13 ff.), but dogmatically, a priori , from the nature of the law , from which results the opposite of the latter, the πίστις , as cause of the κληρονομία .

[1033] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

Verse 15

Romans 4:15 . On the connection see above. The assigning of a reason ( γάρ ) has reference to the previous κεκένωταιπίστις κ . κατήργ . ἡ . ἐπαγγ ., which are closely connected (see Romans 4:16 ), and not merely to the κατήργἐπα γγ . (Chrysostom, Fritzsche, Mehring, and others). The law produces wrath . It is the divine wrath that is meant, not any sort of human wrath (against the judgment of God, as Melancthon thought). Unpropitiated, it issues forth on the day of judgment, Romans 2:5 ff., Romans 3:5 , Romans 9:22 ; Ephesians 2:3 ; Ephesians 5:6 ; Colossians 3:6 al [1038] ; Ritschl, de ira Dei , p. 16; Weber, vom Zorne Gottes , p. 326 f.

οὗ γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι νόμος Κ . Τ . Λ [1039] ] Proof of the proposition that the law worketh wrath: for where the law is not, there is not even ( οὐδέ ) transgression , namely, which excites the wrath of God (the Lawgiver). This short, terse and striking proof which is not, any more than the three previous propositions introduced by γάρ , to be reduced to a “justifying explanation ” (Hofmann), or to be weakened by taking οὐδέ to mean “ just as little ” (Hofmann) proceeds a causa ad effectum; where the cause is wanting (namely, παράβασις ), there can be no mention of the effect ( ὀργή ). This negative form of the probative proposition includes in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostle elsewhere regarding the relation of the law to the human ἐπιθυμία (Romans 7:7 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:56 ; Galatians 3:19 al [1040] ), which is kindled on occasion of the law by the power of sin which exists in man the positive counterpart, that, where the law is, there is also transgression . Paul however expresses himself negatively , because in his mind the negative thought that the fulfilment of the promise is not dependent on the law still preponderates; and he will not enter into closer analysis of the positive side of it viz., that faith is the condition until the sequel, Romans 4:16 ff. Observe moreover that he has not written οὐδὲ ἁμαρτία , which he could not assert (Romans 4:13 ), but οὐδέ παράβασις , as the specific designation of the ἁμαρτία in relation to the law , which was the precise point here in question. Comp Romans 2:23 ; Romans 2:25 ; Romans 2:27 , Romans 5:14 ; Galatians 2:18 ; Galatians 3:19 . Sins without positive law (Romans 4:13 ) are likewise, and indeed on account of the natural law, Romans 2:14 , objects of the divine wrath (see Romans 1:18 ff.; Ephesians 2:3 ); but sins against a given law are, in virtue of their thereby definite quality of transgression , so specifically and specially provocative of wrath in God, that Paul could relatively even deny the imputation of sin when the law was non-existent. See on Romans 4:13 .

[1038] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1039] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1040] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

Verse 16

Romans 4:16 f. Διὰ τοῦτο ] Inference from Romans 4:15 , consequently from the wrath-operating nature of the law, on account of which it is so utterly incapable of being the condition of the κληρονομία , that the latter must on the contrary result from the opposite of the law from faith, etc. Comp on Romans 4:14 f. This conclusion is so evident and pertinent that it required only the incomplete, but thus all the more striking expression: “ therefore of faith, in order that according to grace ,” to the end that, etc.

ἐκ πίστεως ] scil, οἱ κληρονόμοι εἰσί , according to Romans 4:14 . The supplying, by Fritzsche and others, of ἡ ἐπαγγελία γίνεται or ἐγένετο from Romans 4:13 is forbidden by the contrast in which ἐκ πίστ . stands to ἐκ νόμου , Romans 4:14 .

ἵνα κατὰ χάριν ] The purpose of God in ἐκ πίστεως : “ in order that they might be so by way of grace ,” not by way of merit. Comp Romans 4:4 and δωρεάν Romans 3:24 .

εἰς τὸ εἶναι βεβαίαν κ . τ . λ [1044] ] contains now in turn the divine purpose, [1045] which prevails in the κατὰ χάριν . They shall be heirs by way of grace; and why by way of grace? In order that the promise may be sure, i.e. may subsist in active validity as one to be realised (the opposite of κατήργηται , Romans 4:14 ) for the collective posterity ( i.e. for all believers, see Romans 5:11 ; Romans 5:13 ), not for those alone, who are such out of the law (not solely for believers who have become so out of the legal bond of Judaism), but also for those who are such out of the faith of Abraham , [1046] i.e. whose Abrahamic kinship is based on Abraham’s faith, the uncircumcised believers. Theophylact: παντὶ τῷ σπέρματι , τουτέστι πᾶσι τοῖς πιστεύουσιν · οὐ μόνον τοῖς ἐκ νόμου , τουτέστι τοῖς ἐμπεριτόμοις , ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἀκροβύστοις , οἵτινες εἰσι σπέρμα Ἀβραὰμ ἐκ πίστεως αὐτῷ γενηθέντες . If anything else than χάρις (such as ὀφείλημα ) were the reason determining God to confer the κληρονομία , then both halves of the σπέρμα , in their legal imperfection, would be unsecured with respect to the promise. As it is, however, believing Jews as also believing Gentiles have in the divine χάρις the same guarantee that the κληρονομία shall be imparted to them ἐκ πίστεως .

ὅς ἐστι πατ . πάντ . ἡμῶν ] reiterated (comp Romans 4:11-12 ) solemn setting forth of the fatherhood of Abraham for all ( πάντων ) believers ( ἡμῶν ), which was indeed the pith and fundamental idea of the entire argument (since Romans 4:9 ); there is therefore no new point raised here (Hofmann), but this fatherhood of the patriarch in the history of salvation, already clearly laid down, is summarily expressed afresh, in order (Romans 4:17 ), after the insertion of a testimony from Scripture, to present it, by means of κατέναντι οὗ κ . τ . λ [1048] , in its holy, divine guarantee and dignity.

ὍΤΙ ΠΑΤΈΡΑ ΠΟΛΛῶΝ Κ . Τ . Λ [1049] ] Genesis 17:5 , closely after the LXX.; therefore ὅτι , for , which in the original text specifies the reason of the name Abraham, is repeated by Paul without any special bearing on his connection, simply as forming part of the words of Scripture.

πατέρα πολλῶν ἐθν .] Aptly explained, in the sense of the Apostle, by Chrysostom and Theophylact: οὐ κατὰ φυσικὴν συγγένειαν , ἀλλὰ κατʼ οἰκείωσιν πίστεως . In this spiritual sense which the passage of Scripture expresses typically he is constituted by God as father of many nations (in so far, namely, as all believers from among the Jews and all Gentile peoples are to be, in the history of salvation, his spiritual σπέρμα ), i.e. appointed , and thus made so (compare Hebrews 1:2 ; 1Ma 10:65 ; 1Ma 14:34 ; Hom. Od. xv. 253, Il. vi. 300; Plat. Theaet. p. 169 E; Pind. Ol. xiii. 21). Even the original text cannot have meant by גוים merely the twelve tribes of Israel (Hofmann). It means the posterity of Abraham, in so far as Gentile peoples also shall be subjected to it. The Israelite tribes would be עמים .

κατέναντι οὗ ἐπίστ . Θεοῦ ] is connected, after the parenthesis ( καθὼς .… σε ), with ὅς ἐστι πατὴρ πάντ . ἡμῶν . To get rid of the parenthesis by supposing a suppressed intervening thought (Philippi), or an asyndeton , as if it were καὶ κατέναντι κ . τ . λ [1050] (van Hengel), is a harsh and arbitrary course; while it is impossible to regard ΚΑΤΈΝΑΝΤΙ Κ . Τ . Λ [1051] as explanation of the καθὼς γέγραπται (Hofmann), because καθὼς γέγρ . can only be taken as the quite common (occurring thirteen times in our Epistle) simple formula for quoting a Scripture proof, and not as: “ in harmony with the Scripture passage.”

κατέναντι , equivalent to the classical κατεναντίον , means overagainst (Mark 11:2 ; Mark 12:41 ; Luke 19:30 ), i.e. here: in presence of ( κατενώπιον ), coram , as after the Heb. frequently in the LXX. and Apocrypha. See Biel and Schleusner. The attraction is to be resolved into: κατέναντι τοῦ Θεοῦ , κατέναντι οὗ ἐπίστευσε : coram Deo, coram quo credidit . [1052] Quite analogous are such passages as Luke 1:4 , περὶ ὧν κατήχηθης λόγων , instead of περὶ τῶν λόγων περὶ ὧν κατηχ ., Matthew 7:2 al [1053] See Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 177; Schmid in the Tüb. Zeitschr. f. Theol. 1831, 2, p. 137 ff.; Winer, p. 155 f. [E. T. 204]; comp on Acts 21:16 . So also rightly Philippi and Hofmann; [1055] comp Märcker. The mode of resolving it adopted by most commentators (Thomas Aquinas, Castalio, Calvin, Beza, Er. Schmid, Grotius, Estius, and others; also Tholuck, Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, Fritzsche, Ewald, van Hengel, Buttmann): κατέναντι Θεοῦἐπίστευσε , is at least at variance with the usual mode of attraction, since the attraction of the relative, which, not attracted, would stand in the dative, has no precedent in the N. T., and even in Greek authors very seldom occurs (Kühner, a [1057] Xen. Mem. ii. 2, 5, Gramm . II. 2, p. 914). Finally, the explanation which takes κατέναντι οὗ as equivalent to κατέναντι τούτου , ὅτι , and the latter as equivalent to ἀνθʼ οὗ , propterea quod , and in accordance with which Θεοῦ κ . τ . λ [1058] is then taken as genitive absolute (“whilst God, who quickeneth the dead, calleth also to that which is not, as though it were present,” Mehring), is wrong just because κατέναντι has not the sense supposed.

ΤΟῦ ΖΩΟΠ . Τ . ΝΕΚΡΟῪς , ΚΑῚ Κ . Τ . Λ [1059] ] Distinguishing quality of God as the Almighty, selected with practical reference to the circumstances of Abraham (Romans 4:18-21 ): “ Who quickeneth the dead and calleth the non-existent as though it were ,” and certainly, therefore, can quicken the decayed powers of procreation, and dispose of generations not yet in existence. A reference to the offering of Isaac , whom God could make alive again (Erasmus, Grotius, Baumgarten-Crusius and Mangold), is so foreign to the connection that it would have required definite indication. The ζωοποιεῖν τοὺς νεκρούς is a formal attribute of the almighty God. 1 Samuel 2:6 ; Wis 16:13 ; Tob 13:2 ; comp Deuteronomy 32:9 . See also John 5:21 ; 2 Corinthians 1:9 ; 1 Timothy 6:13 . Origen, Ambrosiaster, Anselm, erroneously hold that the νεκροί are spiritually dead, a view which the context must have rendered necessary; comp Olshausen, who holds that ζωοπ . and καλ . indicate typically the spiritual awakening and the new birth; also Ewald, who will have the application made to the revivifying of the dead Gentiles into true Christians.

καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα ] i.e. who utters His disposing decree over that which does not exist, equally as over the existing .” What a lofty expression of all-commanding power! And how thoroughly in harmony with the then position of Abraham! For as he stood before God and believed (Genesis 15:6 ), God had just showed to him the stars of heaven, with the promise οὕτως ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα σου ! So that God hereby issued his potent summons ( so shall it be! ) to something that was not (the σπέρμα of Abraham) as though it had been. This explanation (followed also by Rückert and Philippi) is perfectly faithful to the sense of the words, and as much in harmony with the vividly realised situation of Abraham as it is appropriate to the parallelism; for the latter is climactic , leading from the νεκροῖς to the τὰ μὴ ὄντα . καλεῖν , like קרא , does not here mean to name (Hofmann, comp Loesner and Benecke), which would refer to the name of father pronounced by God and have in view the divine knowledge , but on the contrary, correlative with the mighty ζωοποιεῖν τ . νεκρ . (comp ΔΥΝΑΤΌς Romans 4:21 ), it denotes the call of the Ruler, which He issues to that which is subject to His power. Comp Psalms 50:1 ; Isaiah 41:26 ; [1065] ὡς is the simple as of comparison. Parallels in point are found in Philo, de Jos. p. 544 C, where it is said of the force of imagination, that it pictures τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα ; and Artemidor. i. 53, p. 46, ed. Rigalt. where it is said of the painter, that he represents τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα . Paul could also have, like Clement, Cor. II. 1, used τὰ οὐκ ὄντα (the non-existent, Xen. Mem. ii. 2, 3), as the contradictory antithesis of τὰ ὄντα (comp also Plat. Rep. p. 476 E); but the negation is conceived subjectively, from the standpoint of the subject who calls: he calls the things, which he knows as non-existent, as if they were. Comp Xen. Anab. iv. 4, 15, and Kühner in loc [1068] ; Baeumlein, Partik . p. 278. Still what Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 37 f., deduces from τὰ μὴ ὄντα that that which enters into historical existence was not previously an absolute nothing, but an object of divine knowledge is based on the common conception of καλεῖν in the sense of creative activity, which is erroneous. No doubt καλεῖν , as is well known, often denotes the creating call of God (Isaiah 22:12 ; Isaiah 41:4 ; Isaiah 48:13 ; 2 Kings 8:1 ; Wis 11:25 ; Philo, de creat. princ. p. 728 B, where τὰ μὴ ὄντα ἐκάλεσεν is further defined by εἰς τὸ εἶναι ; comp de Opif. p. 13 E). In this case we should have to think by no means of the historical act of creation out of nothing (Piscator, Estius and others), but rather, on account of the present participle, either of the continuous creative activity (Köllner), or (better still on account of the parallel of ζωοπ .) of an abiding characteristic of God generally, from which no time is excluded. But this whole interpretation of καλεῖν is set aside here by ὡς ὄντα . For ὡς cannot be taken for εἰς (Luther, Wolf, and others), because an use so utterly isolated in the N. T. is in itself very improbable, and because, where ὡς stands in classic authors in the sense of εἰς , it is only so used in reference to persons (Hermann, a [1070] Viger. p. 853; Poppo, a [1071] Thuc. III. 1, p. 318 ff.), or, at the most, where what is personal is represented by neuter objects; see Döderlein, philolog . Beitr. p. 303 ff. Some desire ὡς ὄντα to be taken for ὡς ἐσόμενα (de Wette), or as a summary expression for εἰς τὸ εἶναι ὡς ὄντα (Reiche, Köllner, Tholuck, de Wette, Bisping), but these expedients are arbitrary in themselves, and, in the case of the latter especially seeing that ὄντα would have to be taken in the sense of the result, as only adjectives are elsewhere used (see on Matthew 12:43 , and Breitenbach, a [1072] Xen. Oec. 4, 7)

ὡς would only be superfluous and confusing.

[1044] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1045] Here also the peculiar deeper scope of the view given is often left unnoticed, and εἰς τὸ εἶναι is taken as inference: so that, etc. See on the other hand on Romans 1:20 .

[1046] ἐν πίστ . Ἀβραάμ goes together (in opposition to Fritzsche, who has conceived the σπέρματι to be supplied as before Ἀβρ ., and made the genitive Ἀβραάμ dependent on it), since it is not Jews and Christians , but Jewish and Gentile believers who are placed side by side, and in the latter the faith of Abraham (comp. ver. 10) is the characteristic.

[1048] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1049] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1050] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1051] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1052] The coram, in presence of , is neither to be explained ad exemplum (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact and others), nor “according to the will” (Reiche, Krehl and others), nor “according to the judgment” (Rückert, Köllner, Fritzsche, Maier, Umbreit and others), nor “vi atque potestate divina” (Koppe), nor “before the omniscience of God” (Olshausen), but is to be left without any modifying explanation. Abraham is realised as present , just as he stands πατὴρ πάντων ἡμῶν face to face with the God who had appeared to him, and has become a believer in conspectu Dei. This vivid realisation of the believing patriarch, as if he were standing there as father of us all before the face of God, just as formerly in that sacred moment of history, is a plastic form of presentation which, inaptly condemned by Hofmann, quite accords with the elevated and almost poetic strain of the following words. It also fully warrants the coupling of κατέναντι κ . τ . λ . with ὄς ἐστι πατὴρ πάντων ἡμῶν ; it is unnecessary to seek a connection with ὅτι πατέρα .… τέθεικά σε , either with Bengel, who compares Matthew 9:6 , or with Philippi, who, thereby getting rid of the parenthesis, inserts after τέθεικά σε the thought: “and as such he has been appointed.”

[1053] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1055] Who, nevertheless, in consequence of his incorrect view of καθὼς γέγραπται , professes to illustrate the κατέναντι thus: “ At that time, when he believed, he stood face to face with God as Him who quickeneth the dead, etc.; and by the fact, that God has shown Himself to be just the same as Him before whom he then stood, it has so come to pass, that he is now before Him the father of us all .”

[1057] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1058] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1059] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1065] Quite contrary to the context Erasmus, Ch. Schmid, Koppe and Böhme take καλεῖν in the dogmatic sense. And yet even Fritzsche and Mangold have gone over to this explanation: “homines nondum in lucem editos ad vitam aeternam invitat.” Van Hengel takes καλεῖν as arcessere , and τὰ μὴ ὄντα that which is of no account (see on 1 Corinthians 1:28 ), so that the sense would be: “quaecunque nullius numeri sunt arcessivit (to the childship of Abraham), quasi sint in pretio.” But this peculiar interpretation of μὴ ὄντα and ὄντα must have been specifically suggested by the context, especially as it strips off the whole poetical beauty of the expression.

[1068] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1070] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1071] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1072] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Verse 18

Romans 4:18 . Ὃς ] Parallel to the ὅς ἐστι κ . τ . λ [1073] Romans 4:16 ; therefore only a comma or a colon need be put after Ὡς ὌΝΤΑ .

ἘΠʼ ἘΛΠΊΔΙ ] on hope , is the basis of the ἐπίστ . Comp 1 Corinthians 9:10 ; frequent in Greek authors. See also Titus 1:2 . Abraham’s faith was opposed to hope ( παρʼ ἐλπίδα , frequent in classical writers) in its objective reference, and yet not ἀνέλπιστος , but rather based on hope in its subjective reference, a significant oxymoron.

εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι Κ . Τ . Λ [1075] ] Rightly Luther: in order that he might be . Comp Rückert, Tholuck, Philippi. It contains the end , ordained by God, of the ἐπίστ ., thus exhibiting Abraham’s faith in its teleological connection with the divine decree, and that in reference to the word of God, Romans 4:17 ; hence, it is less in harmony with the context to take εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι κ . τ . λ [1077] as the purpose of Abraham . Romans 4:11 , εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν Κ . Τ . Λ [1078] is quite analogous. Following Beza, many writers (including even Reiche, Köllner, Baumgarten-Crusius, Krehl, Mehring, Hofmann) take εἰς τὸ γεν . as the object of ἐπίστ .; quite contrary to the usage of the N. T.; see on Romans 4:11 . Here, as in every case previously, the object of faith (the divine promise) is quite self-evident. The view which explains it of the consequence (Böhme, Flatt, Fritzsche, following older writers) for καὶ οὕτως ἐγένετο , is linguistically erroneous (see on Romans 1:20 ), and quite at variance with the tenor of the discourse; for in Romans 4:19-21 the delineation of the faith itself is still continued, so that at this stage the result (it is introduced in Romans 4:22 ) would be quite out of place.

κατὰ τὸ εἰρημ .] belonging to γενέσθαι κ . τ . λ [1079] , not to ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΕ (Hofmann, in accordance with his incorrect view of ΕἸς ΤῸ Κ . Τ . Λ [1080] ).

οὕτως ] What is meant by this, Paul assumes to be familiar to his readers; and therefore the corresponding part is by no means wanting. F G and several Fathers (also Vulg. ms.) have after σου the addition: ὡς οἱ ἀστέρες τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶἄμμος τῆς θαλάσσης . The first half only is a proper gloss; the καὶἄμ . τ . θαλ . does not lie in the οὕτως , Genesis 15:5 , but is imported from Genesis 12:16 .

[1073] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1075] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1077] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1078] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1079] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1080] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

Verses 18-21

Romans 4:18-21 . More particular setting forth of this faith of Abraham, according to its lofty power and strength. Εἶδες πῶς τίθησι καὶ τὰ κωλύματα καὶ τὴν ὑψηλὴν τοῦ δικαίου γνώμην πάντα ὑπερβαίνουσαν , Chrysostom.

Verses 19-21

Romans 4:19-21 are still dependent on ὁς , completing the description of the believing Abraham: and (who), because he was not weak in faith , regarded not his own dead body . [1081] Theophylact has properly expressed the meiosis in μὴ ἀσθ .: ΜῊ ἈΣΘΕΝΉΣΑς Τῇ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ , ἈΛΛʼ ἸΣΧΥΡᾺΝ ΑὐΤῊΝ ἜΧΩΝ . By ΜΉ the ἈΣΘΕΝ . is negatived from the point of view of the subject. Comp on Romans 4:17 .

Οὐ ΚΑΤΕΝΌΗΣΕ ] he did not fix his attention thereon . Comp Hebrews 3:1 ; Hebrews 10:24 ; Luke 12:24 ; Jdt 10:14 . This remark is no historical blunder inconsistent with Genesis 17:17 (de Wette; comp Rückert), but is quite in harmony with the account given in Genesis 15:5-6 , where, immediately after the divine promise ΟὝΤΩς ἜΣΤΑΙ ΤῸ ΣΠΈΡΜΑ ΣΟΥ , it is said: ΚΑῚ ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΕΝ ἈΒΡ . Τῷ ΘΕῷ . This (and not what is related in Genesis 17:17 ) is the fact which Paul here exhibits in greater detail, inasmuch as he depicts the καὶ ἐπίστευσε of Gen. l.c [1085] , in its strength at first negatively (in the non-consideration of bodily obstacles) and then positively. The immediately decided faith of Abraham in Genesis 15:0 , to which Paul here refers, is not inconsistent with the subsequent hesitation, Genesis 17:0 (the account of which, moreover, belongs to another author); the latter is a wavering which may easily be understood from a psychological point of view. Comp the doubt of the Baptist as to the Messiahship of Jesus, Matthew 11:2 ff.

ΝΕΝΕΚΡΩΜΈΝΟΝ and ΝΈΚΡΩΣΙς conveying the idea of decrepitude with reference to the powers of procreation and of conception respectively. Comp Hebrews 11:12 ; Kypke, II. p. 164.

ἙΚΑΤΟΝΤΑΈΤΗς Κ . Τ . Λ [1088] ] although so advanced in years that he might naturally have regarded etc., yet he did not do so. The που is the circiter in approximate statements of number ; Herod. i. 119; vii. 5; Diog. L. viii. 86. Comp Xen. Oec. 17, 3. Not used by Paul elsewhere. Abraham was then ninety-nine years old. See Genesis 17:1 ; Genesis 17:17 ; Genesis 21:5 . “Post Semum nemo centum annorum generasse Genesis 11:0 legitur,” Bengel. [1090]

Observe, as to καὶ τ . νέκ ., that the negation Οὐ ΚΑΤΈΝΟΗΣΕ extends to both the objects of the sentence. Hofmann’s objection to our reading, [1091] and his declaration that instead of ΚΑΊ we should expect ΟὐΔΈ , are erroneous; see Winer, p. 460 [E. T. 610]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 315. [1092] The νέκρωσις is the deadness of the womb attested as having already set in at Genesis 18:11 . Was Sarah still to become a mother ἐκ πολιᾶς γαστρός (Pind. Pyth. iv. 98)!

εἰς δὲ τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν Κ . Τ . Λ [1093] ] The negative proposition in Romans 4:19 is, in the first place, still more specially elucidated , likewise negatively, by εἰς .… ἀπιστία ( δέ , the epexegetical autem ), and then the positive opposite relation is subjoined to it by ἀλλʼ ἐνεδυν . κ . τ . λ [1094] In the former negative illustrative clause the chief element giving the information is εἰς τ . ἐπαγγ . τ . Θεοῦ , which is therefore placed first with great emphasis: “ but with regard to the promise of God he wavered not incredulously, but waxed strong in faith ,” etc. Since in this way the discourse runs on very simply and suitably to the sense, it is unnecessary to resort to the more awkward suggestion, that Paul already begins the antithetic statement with δέ ( however , see Hartung, Partikell . I. p. 171), to which nevertheless he has again given the emphasis of contrast through the negative and positive forms (Philippi, who, however, admits our view also; comp Tholuck and others). In no case, however, can it be said, with Rückert, that Paul wished to write ΕἸς ΔῈ Τ . ἘΠΑΓΓ . Τ . ΘΕΟῦ ἘΠΊΣΤ . ΜΗΔῈΝ ΔΙΑΚΡΙΝΌΜΕΝΟς , but that his love for antitheses induced him to divide the idea of ἘΠΊΣΤ . into its negative and positive elements, and that therefore ΕἸς should be referred to the ἘΠΊΣΤ . at first thought of. De Wette (comp Krehl) conjectures that, according to the analogy of ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙΝ ΕἸς , ΕἸς is the object of ΔΙΕΚΡ . It is the quite usual in regard to, as respects ; see Winer, p. 371 [E. T. 496].

διακρίνεσθαι ] To waver , the idea being that of a mental struggle into which one enters, Romans 14:23 ; Matthew 21:21 ; Acts 10:20 ; see Huther on James 1:6 . This usage is so certain in the N. T., that there is no need to translate, with van Hengel: non contradixit , referring to Genesis 17:17 ff., in which case τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ is supposed to mean: “quanquam in animo volvebat, quae diffidentiam inspirarent.” Such a thought is foreign to the connection, in which everything gives prominence to faith only, and not to a mere resignation.

τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ is instrumental , in the sense of the producing cause, but τῇ πίστει , on account of the correlation with ἈΣΘΕΝ . Τῇ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ in Romans 4:19 , is to be taken as the dative of more precise definition , consequently: he wavered not by means of the unbelief (which in such a case he would have had), but became strong as respects the faith (which he had). Hofmann’s explanation is erroneous, because not in keeping with the ἀσθεν . τ . πίστ . above He takes Τῇ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ as causal: by faith Abraham was strengthened “ to an action in harmony with the promise and requisite for its realisation .” This addition, which can hardly fail to convey a very indelicate idea, is a purely gratuitous importation.

ἐνεδυναμώθη ] became strong , heroic in faith; passive. Comp Aq. Genesis 7:20 : ἐνεδυναμώθη τό ὕδωρ . Hebrews 11:34 ; Acts 9:32 ; Ephesians 6:10 ; LXX. Psalms 52:7 : ἘΝΕΔΥΝΑΜΏΘΗ ἘΠῚ Τῇ ΚΑΤΑΙΌΤΗΤΙ ΑὐΤΟῦ . In Greek authors the word does not occur.

ΔΟῪς ΔΌΞΑΝ Τῷ ΘΕῷ ] while he gave God glory, and [1098] was fully persuaded (Romans 14:5 ; Colossians 4:12 ) that , etc. The aorist participles put the διδόναι δόξαν Κ . Τ . Λ [1099] not as preceding the ἐνεδυναμώθη , or as presupposed in it, but as completed simultaneously with it . (comp on Ephesians 1:5 ).

διδόναι δόξαν ( נָתַן כָבו ̇ ד ) τῷ Θεῷ denotes generally every act (thinking, speaking or doing) that tends to the glory of God (Joshua 7:19 ; Jeremiah 13:16 ; Esr. Romans 10:11 ; Luke 17:18 ; John 9:24 ; Acts 12:23 ); and the context supplies the special reference of its meaning. Here: by recognition of the divine omnipotence (not circumcisione subeunda , as van Hengel thinks), as is shown by what follows, which is added epexegetically. “Insigne praeconium fidei est, gloriam Deo tribuere,” Melancthon. The opposite: 1 John 5:10 .

ἐπήγγελται ] in a middle sense. Winer, p. 246 [E. T. 328].

[1081] i.e. his own body: which was one already dead . Therefore νενεκρ . without the article. Comp. Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 6, 1; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 573 A.

[1085] .c. loco citato or laudato .

[1088] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1090] With regard to the children subsequently begotten with Keturah, Genesis 25:1 ff., the traditional explanation, already lying at the foundation of Augustine, de Civ. D. xvi. 28, is sufficient, viz. that the power of begetting, received from God, continued after the death of Sarah. On ἑκατονταέτης comp. Pind. Pyth. iv. 503. According to the uncertain canon of the old grammarians (see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 406 f.) it ought to have been written here as an oxytone (so Lachmann) because it is the predicate of a person. Comp. Kuhner, I. p. 420.

[1091] With the reading without οὐ (see the crit. remarks) the thought conveyed is: and without having been weak in faith he regarded , etc., but did not become doubtful in respect to the promise of God , etc. Comp. Hofmann. But μὴ ἀσθ . τ . πίστ . would thus be superfluous, and even logically unsuitable in relation to ver. 20. Simply and clearly Paul would only have written: καὶ κατενόησε μὲν τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σῶμα κ . τ . λ . εἰς δὲ τὴν ἐπαγγ . κ . τ . λ .

[1092] Comp. also Jacobs, ad Del. epigr. vi. 10, not. crit.

[1093] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1094] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1098] The evidence against καί is too weak. Without it πληροφ . would be subordinated to the δοὺς δόξ . τ . Θ . Oecumenius has aptly remarked on πληροφ . : οὐκ εἶπε πιστεύσας , ἀλλʼ ἐμφατικώτερον . It corresponds with the full victory of the trial of the patriarch’s faith at the close of its delineation.

[1099] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

Verse 22

Romans 4:22 . Result of the whole disquisition, emphatically pointing back to Romans 4:3 ( ἑλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην ).

διὸ καί ] on which account also (Romans 1:24 ), namely because Abraham believed so strongly as is described in Romans 4:18-21 .

The subject of ἑλογίσθη ( it was reckoned) is self-evident, viz. the believing . Comp Nägelsbach, zur Ilias , p. 60, Exodus 3:0 .

Verses 23-25

Romans 4:23-25 . Relation of the Scripture testimony as to Abraham’s justification to the justification of Christians by faith; with which the proof for the νόμον ἱστῶμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως (Romans 3:31 ) is completed.

διʼ αὐτόν ] on his account , in order to set forth the mode of his justification. Then, corresponding thereto: διʼ ἡμᾶς . Comp Beresch R. 40, 8 : “Quicquid scriptum est de Abrahamo, scriptum est de filiis ejus.” On the idea generally comp Rom 14:4 ; 1 Corinthians 9:10 ; 1 Corinthians 10:6 ; 1 Corinthians 10:11 ; Galatians 3:8 .

μέλλει λογίζεσθαι ] namely the πιστεύειν , which, in accordance with the divine ordination, is to be reckoned to us Christians ( μέλλει ), to us, as those who believe on Him that raised up Jesus . μέλλει (comp on Romans 8:13 ) is therefore not to be taken for ἔμελλε (Böhme, comp Olshausen), but contains what God has willed, which shall accomplish itself continuously as to each concrete case (not for the first time at the judgment, as Fritzsche thinks) where Christ is believed on. The ἡμεῖς , i.e. the community of believers (not however conceived as becoming such, as Hofmann supposes), are the constant recipients of the fulfilment of that which was once written not merely for Abraham’s sake but also for theirs.

τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ] not: who from time to time become believing (Hofmann), which is not consistent with ἡμᾶς , but: quippe qui credunt . The ἐπὶ τὸν ἑγείραντα κ . τ . λ [1106] that is added then points out the specific contents , which is implied in the μέλλει λογίζεσθαι , for the ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙΝ that has not yet been more precisely defined. In and with this faith we have constantly the blessing of the ΛΟΓΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ divinely annexed to it. Comp Romans 8:1 . And the ἘΠῚ ΤῸΝ ἘΓΕΊΡΑΝΤΑ Κ . Τ . Λ [1108] (comp Romans 10:9 ) is purposely chosen to express the character of the faith, partly on account of the necessary analogy with Romans 4:17 , [1110] and partly because the divine omnipotence, which raised up Jesus, was at the same time the strongest proof of divine grace (Romans 4:25 ). Regarding ἐπί , comp on Romans 4:5

παρεδόθη ] standing designation for the divine surrender of Christ, surrender unto death (Romans 8:32 ), perhaps after Isaiah 53:12 . It is at the same time self-surrender (Galatians 2:20 ; Ephesians 5:2 ), since Christ was obedient to his Father.

διὰ τὰ παραπτ . ἡμῶν ] on account of our sins , namely, that they might be atoned for by the ἱλαστήριον of Jesus, Romans 3:24 f., Romans 5:8 f.

διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν ] on account of our justification , in order to accomplish on us the judicial act of transference into the relation of δικαιοσύνη . Comp Romans 5:18 . For this object God raised Jesus from the dead; [1113] for the resurrection of the sacrificed One was required to produce in men the faith , through which alone the objective fact of the atoning offering of Jesus could have the effect of δικαίωσις subjectively , because Christ is the ἱλαστήριον διὰ τῆς πίστεως , Romans 3:25 . Without His resurrection therefore the atoning work of His death would have remained without subjective appropriation; His surrender διὰ τὰ παραπτ . ἡμῶν would not have attained its end, our justification. Comp especially 1 Corinthians 15:17 ; 2 Corinthians 5:20 f., 2 Corinthians 5:15 ; 1 Peter 1:21 . Moreover the two definitions by ΔΙΆ are not two different things, but only the two aspects of the same exhibition of grace, the negative and the positive; of which, however, the former by means of the parallelism, in which both are put in juxtaposition, is aptly attributed to the death as the objective ἱλαστήριον , and the latter to the resurrection, as the divine act that is the means of its appropriation . [1115] Melancthon has well said: “Quanquam enim praecessit meritum, tamen ita ordinatum fuit ab initio, ut tunc singulis applicaretur , cum fide acciperent.” The latter was to be effected by the resurrection of Jesus; the meritum lay in His death , but the raising Him up took place for the δικαίωσις , in which His meritum was to be realised in the faithful. Comp Romans 8:34 . Against the Catholic theologians, who referred ΔΙΚ . to sanctification (as Maier, Bisping, Döllinger and Reithmayr still do), see Calovius. Nor is intercession even (Romans 8:34 ) to be introduced into διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν (Calvin and others; also Tholuck and Philippi), since that does not take place to produce the ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ , but has reference to those who are already justified, with a view to preserve them in the state of salvation; consequently the δικαίωσις of the subjects concerned precedes it.

[1106] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1108] . τ . λ . καὶ τὰ λοιπά .

[1110] But in point of fact to “believe on Christ ” and to “believe on God who raised Christ,” are identical, because in both cases Christ is the specific object .

[1113] Compare Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 329. For the view which the older Reformed theologians (comp. also Gerhard in Calovius) took of the state of the case as an acquittal from our sins , which was accorded to Christ and to us with Him through His resurrection, see Ritschl, Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung , I. p. 283 f. According to Beza, Christ could not have furnished the atonement of our sins, if He had not, as the risen victor, vanquished death. But the case is rather conceived as the converse: Christ could not have risen, if His death had not expiated our sins. In this way Christ has not merely died ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν , but has also been raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15 ); without His saving power, however, having been in itself conditioned only by the resurrection (to which, in the main, the views of Öttinger and Menken ultimately come).

[1115] The reference to the fellowship with the death of Christ, whereby believers have died to their former life, and with His resurrection as an entrance into a new state of life no longer conditioned by the flesh (see Rich. Schmidt, Paulin. Christol. p. 74), is inadmissible; because it does not correspond to the prototype of Abraham, which determines the entire representation of justification in this chapter.

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.